Karapatan: Current war on drugs is bloody like previous admin

Karapatan: Bongbong Marcos’ war on drugs is bloody like previous admin

/ 05:53 PM December 10, 2023

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s war on drugs is not “bloodless”, rights group Karapatan alleged on Sunday.

Relatives of victims of extrajudicial killings during the government’s war on drugs gather at Caritas Manila’s office in Pandacan, Manila, on All Saints’ Day in this file photo in 2017. INQUIRER file photo / RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s war on drugs is not “bloodless,” rights group Karapatan alleged on Sunday.

The group’s statement, released in time for the International Day for Human Rights, said that Marcos’ implementation of the drug war is merely a continuation of the policies set by his predecessor, former President Rodrigo Duterte.


“Under Marcos Jr.’s war on drugs, there have been 474 drug-war related killings as of November 23, 2023, belying the regime’s claims that its version of the drug war is ‘bloodless,’” Karapatan said, citing data from the University of the Philippines’ Dahas Project.


The rights group drew a comparison between the two presidents, saying that Duterte himself is accountable for up to 30,000 deaths in his implementation of the controversial war on drugs.

This figure, however, is highly disputed as the government tally on drug war deaths sits at over 6,000 while rights organization Human Rights Watch puts the number closer to 12,000, with about 3,000 of those deaths attributed to the Philippine National Police.

“As we hold them to account for these crimes, we support calls by victims of the drug war and their families for the International Criminal Court to pursue investigations on Duterte and his cabal, in the face of the utter failure of domestic redress mechanisms to render justice to the victims,” Karapatan’s statement continued.

Moreover, the group criticized the current administration’s anti-insurgency policies since the beginning of President Marcos’ term.

READ: Gov’t, NDFP get back to peace talks again – Galvez

The rights group noted that they have recorded 87 extrajudicial killings in the course of the Marcos Jr. regime’s “brutal counter-insurgency war” since July 2022. Karapatan particularly criticized the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s “militarist” approach in combating insurgency in the country.


“Hundreds are facing trumped up charges, including 795 political prisoners who contend with the unjust bases of their imprisonment and sordid conditions in detention facilities. At least seventeen of them are peace consultants of the (…) NDFP,” the rights group stressed.

“While we fight for justice, we renew our commitment to the struggle for a just and lasting peace by insisting that previous agreements on human rights and IHL be upheld and that the root causes of the armed conflict be addressed,” Karapatan added.

The group expressed optimism that the government’s recent show of intent to resume peacetalks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will provide an opportunity for Filipinos to address the root cause of armed conflict in the country.

READ: Peace talks with NDFP ‘an agreement with the devil,’ VP tells Marcos

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The Oslo Joint Communique, the document affirming the pledge between the government and the insurgents to pursue peace talks, was signed in November 2023. This move did not sit well with Vice President Sara Duterte who called the peace talks an “agreement with the devil.”

TAGS: illegal drugs, President, war on drugs

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